The work of one of the most famous and lasting names from the Modern Art movement was the inspiration for two Swiss companies to come together on a high-end clock collaboration. Called Arachnophobia, the timepiece makes reference to the Maman, the spider sculpture created by the iconic artist Louise Bourgeois.
Geneva-based horologist Maximilian Büsser, founder of MB&F, worked with Swiss manufacturer L'Epée 1839 to adapt one of the manufacturer's clock movements to be shaped like a spider's torso and head. The eight legs jutting out from the central piece are attached by ball and socket joints, creating a stylized yet realistic effect.
White numerals showing hours and minutes are inscribed on the spider body's black dome. At one end of the time-displaying torso, the head houses the regulator with its balance wheel while the other end holds the power-generating mainspring. The head also bears the index mechanism.
The key to wind and set Arachnophobia is found under the spider's body. The designer says the idea is that the user has to interact with the clock and build "a close relationship" with it. That is a job that will have to be repeated roughly every week as the power reserve lasts eight days.
Sturdiness was also one of the manufacturer's concerns and the regulating organ features a shock protection system called Incabloc that reduces impact during transportation and handling.
The design is flexible in how Arachnophobia can be set-up and displayed. The user can either mount it flat on a wall, place it standing on a desk or move the front legs forward and keep the other six in a standing position to create a slightly sinister, arachnophobia-inducing position.
The legs are made of injection-molded aluminum and then hand-finished and lacquered. The glossy finish followed the same principles as those applied to luxury wristwatches like Côtes de Genève, and included various methods such as polishing, sand-blasting, and circular and vertical satin finishing.
There's another 18-k yellow gold-plated edition with gilded brass legs for a more artificial, glamorous look.
With its legs fully flattened, the clock spans 40.5 cm (16 in). It stands at 20.3 cm (8 in) with its legs extended. The gold-plated version tips the scales at 1.96 kg (4,3 lb) while the black version weighs 0.98 kg (2.16 lb).
Arachnophonia is available now from specialist retailers. The black version costs CHF 15,300 (about US$15,700). The gold-plated version is, unsurprisingly, more expensive at CHF 17,500 (US$18,000).